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Gender pay gaps widens at Lloydspharmacy and Rowlands, Cohens unmoved

Lloydspharmacy and Rowlands have revealed their gender pay gaps have widened over a one year period in favour of male employees, while Cohens' remained largely unchanged*.

*Cohens' mean gender pay gap has been updated due to an error in its pay gap report, which was rectified after this article was published. Cohens originally reported its mean gender pay gap as 38%, before correcting it to 16%. 

Lloydspharmacy reported an increase in the mean gender pay gap – the difference in pay between the average male and female UK hourly rate –  with male employees receiving 26% more than female employees in 2018.

Last year, Lloydspharmacy – the UK’s second largest multiple – reported a mean average pay gap of 31% in favour of men. However, the multiple said it had subsequently “discovered a discrepancy in our 2017 reporting” and it should have been reported as 24%.

The multiple also reported a widening of its median average pay gap – which takes the mid-point when all hourly rates are lined up from biggest to smallest, reducing the impact of one-off outliers – for 2018, with female employees being paid 14% less than male employees. This had increased from 3% in 2017.

Lloydspharmacy attributed its pay gap to having a low percentage of female employees in the highest pay band, which is “due to a higher proportion of males within our head office management roles”, it said.

The multiple’s efforts to narrow its gender pay gap include educating managers “so they understand the benefits of a diverse workforce”, and removing “unconscious bias by upskilling managers in the recruitment process”.

Rowlands gap widens by one percentage point

Rowlands revealed it paid its male employees 18% more on mean average than its female employees in 2018, an increase of one percentage point from the previous year.

The multiple reported a median pay gap of 0% for 2018, a shift from being 3% in favour of female employees in 2017.

Rowlands said one of the reasons for the widening of the mean gender pay gap may be because “there are now more males in higher paid positions…and a higher number of females in the lowest quartile”.

“We have to continue to focus on ensuring we have a fully inclusive working environment,” the multiple added.

Cohens gap remains unchanged

The mean pay gap at Cohens Chemist remained largely unchanged, at 16%. Cohens originally reported its mean gender pay gap as 38%, before correcting it to 16% yesterday (April 11), after the reporting deadline.

Cohens employs 2,368 staff who operate 221 pharmacy branches.

The chain said the “skewed position” toward male employees shown in its mean pay gap is “due to the underrepresentation of male employees in the middle [pay] quartiles”.

“Female distribution across the quartiles is much more evenly spread,” it added.

However, the chain’s median pay gap was 5% in favour of female employees in the 2018 report.

Its median pay gap was 8% in favour of female employees the previous year.

The other pharmacy chains

The gender pay gaps at Superdrug and Day Lewis have narrowed, according to their second annual gender pay gap reports, while Paydens’ remained largely unchanged.

Last week, C+D reported that the average gender pay gap at Boots had slightly narrowed from 21% in 2017 to 20% a year later, while Well’s gender pay gap remained around 20%.

As of 2018, companies with over 250 employees are legally required to publish annual reports on the difference in the average hourly wage of all men and women across their workforce. This is not the same as equal pay, which is the legal requirement that men and women in the same employment, performing equal work, must receive the same wages.

See this table for all the pharmacy chains’ gender pay gap figures, correct to one decimal place.

What do you make of the figures from these pharmacy chains?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I would be interested in reading about the differences in pay amongst the roles within the business, I think they would show a more insightful story into how companies conduct their pay reviews.

I would also encourage everyone to share how much they are getting paid with all their colleagues. Open discussion of salaries among peers and co-workers is a powerful tool to fight pay inequity.

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